It’s true that I didn’t love Guatemala like so many travelers I know—but that doesn’t mean there weren’t parts I didn’t find delightfully charming.
The ancient colonial city of Antigua, for example, was lovely in its cobblestone ways and crumbling facades.
Sadly, throughout the duration of our three weeks in Central America in 2008, we were under attack by the weather gods. The afternoon we spent in Antigua was about the “prettiest” day we were granted.
We heard there was some beautiful volcano treks in the vicinity, but unfortunately the pending rain thwarted any such plans. The paths are slippery enough when not wet, and hiking is downright discouraged during precipitation of any kind.
Instead, we stayed the night, woke up and took a stroll around the town, fully intending to spend a few days in Antigua.
What we found was quaint and photogenic enough—albeit small and, oddly enough, too American (in population, that is; Antigua is popular among those who leave home for language schools)—and, thus, not enough to entice us to stay more than 24 hours.
But hey, that’s OK. Because that’s the nice thing about traveling: No one sets your schedule but you. If you don’t like a place—or, as in our case, it doesn’t hold your attention for longer than a fleeting moment—you move onto the next, until you discover that very captivating spot for which you were searching all along. After all, if the same destinations held widespread appeal, they’d lose their authenticity entirely and turn into, I don’t know, the next Cancun.
That said, we never found such a place on that specific jaunt through Central America. Doesn’t mean we won’t continue searching for it on subsequent trips—it only means we failed the first time around. But at least we got some decent photos during the trial-and-error process.